Last year, we here at Abnormal Use reported on the legal battle between ski resort operators in Park City, Utah. It all started when Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) inadvertently failed to renew a 50 year lease for the land upon which its resort is located. Unfortunately for PMCR, that land is owned by Talisker, a competitor who has since leased the land to Vail Resorts. Tailsker and Vail recently scored what could prove to be a knockout blow against PMCR.
In May, a Utah court ruled that PMCR officials had indeed failed to renew their sweetheart lease for a majority of their ski terrain. Apparently, the court was not too impressed with PMCR’s “honest mistake” defense as a justification for being a few days late in renewing the fateful lease agreement. As result of PMCR’s failure to properly renew, the court held that Talisker had the right to lease the upper mountain to a new operator – which is exactly what it did in refusing to lease the land to PMCR and instead leasing it to Vail. Of course, PMCR has publicly stated that it will appeal the ruling. We’ll see what happens there.
Regardless of the ultimate results of the proceeding, the real losers may be the residents of Park City and the multitudes of skiers who enjoy the mountain each year. Even if Talisker and Vail prevail, it won’t be enough to ensure the mountain stays open. Although Talisker owns the majority of the land at issue, PMCR actually owns the property at the base of the mountain, and without that land, it will be virtually impossible for Vail to run a resort there. The CEO of PMCR’s parent company has repeatedly stated that the land at the base of the mountain is not for sale.